Pizza is like a blank canvas. Top it with delicious things, and it becomes a masterpiece.
For this recipe, I bought a ball of dough from the local pizza joint, and used half. Pizza dough freezes great. Just place in an oiled ziploc bag and store in the freezer. Defrost at room temperature for several hours when you want to use it.
Sometimes I use a pizza peel and sometimes I use a parchment-lined sheet pan when I form the pizza. In this recipe, I used the sheet pan, and slid the pizza, parchment and all, onto the hot sheet pan in the oven. If you have a baking steel, you'll get a much nicer browned bottom crust. Make sure to heat your oven for a good while, about 20 minutes or more.
If you can't find prosciutto, par-cooked bacon is a fine substitute. Place two or three rashers in the microwave and cook for a few minutes, until not quite crispy.
A good, simple salad to accompany this pizza would be baby arugula, which has an assertive spiciness. Toss with a simple dressing of olive oil, champagne vinegar (my favorite), flaky salt and cracked pepper. You could also scatter the salad right on top of the pizza, for a fancy-ish salad pizza. —mrslarkin
ball of pizza dough, about 250 grams
chopped pitted dates
soft goat cheese
Pecorino Roman cheese, grated
slices Prosciutto di Parma, torn into pieces. Or 3 bacon rashers (see note.)
olive oil, plus extra
freshly grated orange zest, plus more for top
Set oven rack to upper third. Place baking steel or a heavy sheet pan on rack. Heat oven to 550 degrees F.
Sprinkle some flour and/or fine cornmeal on a pizza peel or parchment-lined baking sheet and form the pizza into a round or an oval or whatever shape it happens to want to take. If the dough doesn't cooperate, let it sit at room temperature for 5 minutes or so, covered, to relax. Have a drink while you wait, to relax. Drizzle olive oil on top and spread it gently with your fingertips all over the dough. Cover lightly with plastic wrap, place a kitchen towel over, and let rest at room temperature until you are ready to build the pizza.
Toss dates with olive oil. Mix ricotta, orange zest and goat cheese together.
Slide plain pizza onto the baking steel or the hot sheet pan and bake for about 4 minutes, until top is very lightly golden in spots, and no longer raw. Remove from oven. Switch to broiler setting. Spread ricotta mixture on pizza. Scatter dates, rosemary, feta crumbles and prosciutto over the top. Return the pizza to the oven. With the oven door ajar, broil the pizza for a few minutes until the prosciutto crisps.
Remove the pizza, drizzle with a little olive oil, runny honey, and a sprinkle of red pepper flakes and Maldon flaky salt. Grate a little more Pecorino and orange zest over the top.